HARSENS ISLAND FERRY CLOSURE INFO/ ICE CONDITIONS INFO
This page will be updated with the latest information regarding Harsens Island Ferry service and any interruptions in service due to heavy ice conditions. Any information regarding heavy ice conditions that could impede ferry service will be posted as soon as it is made available. Please be aware that heavy ice conditions can occur suddenly and unexpectedly and early notification may not be possible. Please be as prepared as possible.
03/07/2012 -- No ice to report this season!!
The ferry will not run tonight and will close at 9:30 PM and begin running again at 6 AM tomorrow.
The ferry is open and running normally.
The ferry remains closed today due to heavy ice conditions
The ferry will be shutting down @ 9:00pm and will evaluate the ice conditions in the morning.
The ferry is open and operating on its normal schedule.
The ferry remains closed today due to heavy ice in the North Channel. The US Coast Guard is working the North Channel in an attempt to flush the ice. The ferry is tentatively scheduled to reopen tomorrow morning @ 6am if the ice successfully flows out of the North Channel.
03/20/2011--11:00am Potential Ferry Closing
There is the likelihood that the ferry will shut down in the next few hours due to heavy ice in the North Channel. The parking lot on the mainland side next to the ferry is open for residents wishing to have a car on the mainland. Please plan accordingly due to the uncertainness when the ferry will resume service.
Ferry service is resuming normal operations due to heavy ice having moved downriver.
Ferry service has been suspended for today. Champions Auto Ferry will attempt to resume service tomorrow @ 6:00am.
Ferry service shut down @1:30am due to heavy ice conditions. At theirs time service remains suspended. Coast Guard cutters will be breaking the North Channel today in hopes of clearing the ice and ferry operations will tentatively resume service this afternoon.
Ferry service shut down @ 1:00am due to heavy ice on mainland side of North Channel. Champions Ferry is attempting to clear ice with the ferry boats and hopefully service will resume normal operations early this afternoon.
The ferry will shut down at 10:00 p.m. and reopen February 28,2011 at 6:00 a.m
The ferry will shut down at 10:00 p.m. and reopen February 27,2011 at 6:00 a.m
The ferry will shut down at 10:00 p.m. and reopen February 26, 2011 at 6:00am
The ferry will shut down at 10:00 p.m. and reopen February 25, 011 at 6:00 a.m
The ferry will shut down at 10:00 p.m. and reopen February 24, 2011 at 6:00 a.m
The ferry is operating again but be advised closures can occur without notice.
The ferry is closed due to mechanical damage caused by the heavy ice conditions. At this time It is unknown when the ferry will be able to operate again. Updates will be posted as they are received.
The ferry is open and running once every half hour. The ferry will shut down at 10:00 p.m. and reopen February 23, 2011 at 6:00 a.m
Due to heavy ice conditions in the North Channel, Champion's Auto Ferry has been unable to resume operations. They will attempt to cross the channel again later this afternoon. Updates will be posted as soon as possible.
Ferry Closing Alert
Per David Bryson,of Champion's Auto Ferry, service to the island will be suspended @ approximately 8:00pm this evening until 9:00am Tuesday morning due to HEAVY ice conditions. These times are approximate and are subject to change with the conditions of the North Channel. Please plan accordingly. Updates will be posted as they are received.
As you have all have probably noticed, a “heat wave” is impacting the area!!! This is causing the ice to deteriorate quickly and break apart. We’ve had the CGC NEAH BAY in the lower St. Clair River all week, trying break up and flush out some of the ice that was packed up around Algonac. CGC KATMAI BAY is also currently en route to aid in the flushing operations as we will likely move CGC NEAH BAY back to Lake Erie to assist the coastal communities there with flood relief. For the near future, we have NO plans to send our icebreakers into the North Channel unless specifically requested by the Harsens Island Ferry if they should need assistance as the ice melts. Favorable weather has been assisting us in flushing operations without having to go into the North Channel.
Recreational users of the ice are reminded to use extreme caution, as the warmer weather continues to degrade the ice. Anyone venturing out on the ice for ice fishing over the next 48 hours could be at risk. Please monitor the local news releases for safety alerts. We will continue to provide timely information via this blog as it pertains to ice operations in the North Channel.
Lt Justin Westmiller
Public Affairs Officer
US Coast Guard
From CAPT Jeff Ogden, Captain of the Port, Coast Guard Sector Detroit:
I am extremely pleased to see that we have been successful in improving our information flow on our ice breaking operations to the citizens of Harsens Island. I feel it is crucial to the welfare of the island that you have the opportunity to understand where we are operationally and how that may affect your ability to use the Champion's Auto Ferry. I also want to reiterate how much I appreciate the great turnout at the Town Hall meeting that we held back in December. I feel the open forum to address questions and concerns allowed you to understand us as we try to meet our ice breaking responsibilities and challenges...and it helped us to better understand your concerns about how our actions impact you. Thank you for those who braved the cold and participated.
That said, I want to restate that we are using this blog to provide timely information to you so you can be as prepared as possible in case we would need to send one of our ice breakers down the north channel. I cannot, however, use the blog to answer individual questions on our policies, procedures, and operational decisions. There are just too many facets to our operational ice breaking to adequately explain in a forum such as this. I simply don't have the personnel capacity to answer each question from individual citizens and I am over tasking LT Westmiller as it is to ensure he keeps you as updated as possible. I appreciate that you may have questions and will try to mitigate your concerns through timely information flow. I also appreciate your support of our endeavor to work with you as best we can. So far, this blog seems to be a good means to quickly communicate any news. We will continue to update the blog as conditions warrant, ensuring you have the most current information.
As we mentioned in our last update, we will NOT be going into the North Channel over the weekend. Unless the situation changes drastically over the next few days, we will wait to provide another update until next week once we see how the weekend weather will impact the water levels along the river. Again...I will not take any action to flush the north channel unless I feel it is absolutely necessary and our best option to meet the extensive ice breaking, maritime and environmental requirements we are balancing. And, as always, we will not send an ice breaker down the north channel without giving you advance notice through this blog and your leadership on the island.
Thank you for your patience as we partner through another challenging winter.
CAPT Jeff Ogden
Commander, Coast Guard Sector Detroit
Ice Breaking Update
Today the Samuel Risley, Bristol Bay, and Neah Bay continued flushing the ice currently plugging up the St. Clair River. Efforts have been strictly focused on flushing the ice through the Old South Channel for the past week, though Mother Nature has not been assisting us and we are continuing to struggle to make headway in flushing the ice jam down river. At this point, our flushing in the South Channel alone is not proved effective in relieving the ice jam.
Tomorrow the Mackinaw, Samuel Risley, Bristol Bay, and Neah Bay will continue their efforts in the Old South Channel. We are watching the weather closely to identify an opportunity to potentially break into the North Channel to relieve some of the pressure and potential flooding risk for the counties along the St. Clair River. With the expected temperature drop, we do not believe the weekend weather will be conducive to flushing the North Channel. We will be watching for warmer weather and northerly winds to assist in flushing the ice jam in the coming week as we want to make any attempt to remove ice through the North Channel a success.
We will continue to monitor and reassess the water levels in the river and lake throughout the weekend.
Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience during this busy operation.
Ice Breaking Update
With the help of the rain and warmer temperatures, the Mackinaw, Samuel Risley, Bristol Bay, and Neah Bay continued flushing the ice currently plugging up the St. Clair River. Though three vessels were successfully escorted through the river today, limited results were achieved in flushing the ice due to the southerly winds pushing the ice back up the channel. Additionally, as the ice flows down the river, it gets into tighter areas and can make the flushing more difficult in the long run. The latest reports indicating that the thickest brash ice is around Willow Point, reaching from one to five feet in places. We will continue to monitor water levels in the river and lake to avoid potential flooding situations due to this ice jam.
We will not be breaking into the North Channel tomorrow. However, temperatures are expected to drop in the coming days, which may significantly slow the flow of ice down the river and create a potential flooding situation. We will reassess the conditions tomorrow and make a determination as to whether to break the North Channel on Thursday.
We will continue to update you on changing conditions, and should the need arise we will give you advanced notice via this blog, 911 alerts, and press statements of our intentions. Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience during this busy operation
We are NOT currently planning to break into the North Channel tomorrow, Tuesday January 18th! If the need arises, we will give ample notice. Again, we are not planning on breaking into the North Channel tomorrow!
This is a dynamic situation, but we will continue to keep the lines of communication open with all involved.
LT Justin Westmiller
Good Afternoon Everyone!
Well, the Mackinaw and Samuel Risley have escorted one vessel through the river this morning and worked the track throughout the day. This sunshine is helping to warm the ice and move it around a little making our job slightly easier this morning. The Bristol Bay and Neah Bay continue to conduct flushing of the Old South Channel and Seaway Cut and this has proved useful.
There will be one upbound vessel and four downbound vessels through the river tonight into tomorrow. Tomorrow, we are looking at about the same amount of traffic. After that, the Soo locks will close and traffic will significantly slow down.
What all this means to you is that once we get this heavy volume of traffic clear, we will be more focused on maintaining the flow of commerce for things like heating oil, coal, salt, etc...that are important for Great Lakes customers for both sides of the border and keeping a close eye on water levels. If there is a need to break into the North Channel and interrupt ferry service, we will give you advanced notice via this blog, 911 alerts, an update to the Clay Township website, and issue press statements.
We appreciate everyone's flexibility, patience, and understanding as we work another busy ice season.
Justin Westmiller said...
Good Afternoon everyone,
Here is where we are right now...
The Bristol Bay and Neah Bay continue to flush both the old South Channel and the Seaway Cut. The Mackinaw and Samuel Risley have moved four vessels through the river today and will continue to work traffic through the evening into tomorrow.
We have made the decision not to break the ice into the North Channel on Monday due to our ability to get the traffic through and slightly ease the ice throughout the day. We are constantly watching the water levels in Lake St. Clair, Algonac, and Marine City. Lake St. Clair has significantly dropped telling us that there is a water flow issue.
What this means is that between the traffic flow issues and the possibility for flooding in the upriver areas, we may need and continue to leave the North Channel ice breaking on the table. We will continue to keep everyone updated and work with local authorities, Champion's Ferry, the press, and you to ensure you have the most up to the minute information!
Here is an update on ice breaking operations. Currently, the Bristol Bay and Neah Bay are working to flush the ice out of the old South Channel to give the ice jam in the shipping channel somewhere to go. In the meantime, the Mackinaw and Samuel Risley are working to free and escort the Herbert C. Jackson through the heavy ice.
The Commanding Officer of the Mackinaw is a former Commanding Officer of the Bristol Bay and has years of ice breaking experience in the Great Lakes. He stated this morning during a conversation, that this was the heaviest he has ever seen the ice in the St Clair River.
Please be patient as we work through this situation, and keep the important information flowing to all interested and involved!
01/16/2011--11:30am: Potential Ferry Closing 1-17-2011
There is a strong possibility of Coastguard activity tomorrow, January 17th at 10am in the North Channel. Please plan accordingly, potential ferry closing.